Excalibur Insurance
What You Need to Know About Insuring Your Watercraft

How to Insure Your Watercraft

September 21, 2021


Maybe you were channeling your inner Quint from Jaws or the contemptuous Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean – whatever the reason, you went out and got yourself a boat. Boats can be a great medium for you, your family, and your friends to enjoy and create lots of cherished memories while out and about exploring the open water. But those boats in the movies you see on the big screens seldom fare well on the high seas.

Before you cast off, take a moment to consider boat insurance. What is boat insurance? What kind of boat insurance do you need for your boat? We’ll tell you.

Boat Insurance: What is It?

While some watercrafts may have coverage under your home insurance policy, boat insurance is highly recommended for boats that have their own motor. “Watercraft” is a term that encompasses a wide variety of different “water vehicles” – so there’s bound to be some variation both in terms of what can be covered and what coverage is available.

Here at Excalibur, we recommend purchasing Comprehensive or All-Risks Watercraft Insurance. This will protect you against all risks that you list on your policy.

What is covered by boat insurance?

Well, most boat insurance policies will cover the cost of replacing the boat and the other equipment used for operation, including the motor, GPS systems, and sails. Depending on the coverage you choose, boat insurance can cover you from events such as:

  • Fire, lightning, hail, and wind damage
  • Theft and vandalism
  • Explosions
  • Collision
  • Infestation damage

Some perils may require the separate purchase of additional coverage. Just as is the case with auto insurance, boat insurance may come with the option of Comprehensive, All-Risks, and Collision coverage, which you can buy to have coverage against a wider range of perils.

Does my boat insurance cover…?

Collision Damage Protection: Includes the cost of repairing or replacing your boat. An extension called Debris Removal Coverage can also be added on to cover the cost of cleaning up the wreckage.

Comprehensive Coverage: Compensates you if your boat is stolen, vandalized or damaged in an accident other than a collision. For example, comprehensive coverage would protect you if someone were to spray paint your boat or take a hockey stick and break the boat’s windows.

Liability Insurance: Your boat insurance policy should also come with liability protection, if someone is injured while on your watercraft. Liability protection covers the cost of injury to passengers on your boat, as well as skiers and tubers who are being towed by your boat. Additionally, liability insurance protects you against damage that you cause to another individual’s boat, dock or property, when the claim is directly related to operation of your boat.

Optional Boat Insurance

Coverage can also be bought for replacing fishing gear, entering tournaments, oil spill damage, and roadside assistance when towing the boat.  We also recommend that you talk to your insurance broker about purchasing coverage against damages and injuries caused by boaters who are uninsured, so that you aren’t left footing the bill.

Boat Insurance FAQs

Boat insurance is not like your average insurance policy, so we understand if you have questions. Excalibur has answered some of our most popular questions regarding boat insurance. If you are still unsure, get in touch with a friendly Excalibur representative today to discuss your boat insurance questions and concerns.

What doesn’t boat insurance cover?

Some of the most common exclusions are wear and tear damage, gradual deterioration, denting, scratching, marring, damage caused by animals, manufacturer’s defects (such as defects in design) and ice or freezing damage. You should always make sure to check which perils are and are not covered under your policy before purchasing.

Does my home insurance include my boat?

In some cases, your watercraft may be insurable under your home or seasonal home insurance policy, if it’s a kayak, canoe, paddleboat or other watercraft that does not have a motor. However, we recommend purchasing a separate policy to insure your boat properly, because unlike your home, your boat is not stationary, so it faces a different set of risks. These risks include salvage work, wreck removal, pollution, and environmental damage, among other things.

What boat insurance discounts are there?

Excalibur Insurance represents 15 different companies who offer a wide variety of coverage options, so that all of our customers can have a policy that is tailored to their needs. This means that each company offers unique discounts based on how long you’ve been a driver, when the boat was manufactured, and where you intend to store the boat.

  • We also recommend that you take the time to consider what type of boat you’re going to buy, as choosing safety over performance will keep your premium lower. Buying a brand new boat may seem like a great idea, but the higher the boat’s value the higher the insurance premium.
  • Some companies also offer a discount if you successfully complete a boat safety course. Similar to a drivers training course, this educational class can help you stay safe in adverse situations.
  • Finally, some companies will offer discounts if you have never filed a claim.

You can contact your Excalibur broker at 1-888-298-7343 to see if bundling your coverage is the right option for you. When discussing boat insurance with your broker make sure you explain to them when and how you intend to use your boat, so they can make sure you have the best coverage for your individual situation.

Is boat insurance mandatory?

Although boat insurance is not required by law in Canada, we strongly encourage you to research the benefits and consider purchasing at least some form of coverage. That way if something were to happen to your Orca, you’ll be a lot better off than Quint.

What watercrafts can be insured with boat insurance?

Boat can refer to any vessel that floats on the water, motorized or not. If your boat is not motorized, you may be able to insure it with a home insurance endorsement known as Watercraft Coverage. Otherwise, you will need to purchase a separate boat insurance policy. The following boats may be insured with boat insurance:

  • Fishing boats
  • Pontoons
  • Cruisers
  • Sailboats
  • Sea-doos
  • Bowriders
  • Ski boats
  • …and more

If you are unsure if your boat qualifies for insurance, you can always discuss with an insurance broker.

If I trailer my boat, do I still have coverage?

Boat insurance has two parts to it: physical damages and liability. Your typical boat insurance policy will include physical damages to your boat while it is being trailered, but your auto policy will cover any liability losses. If you were in an accident and your watercraft was damaged while it was being trailered, your boat insurance will pay out. However, if your towed boat swung out and crashed into another vehicle and the other driver was injured, your auto insurance would be responsible for this.

What if another boat crashes into me and they don’t have insurance?

Because boat insurance is not required, there is a much higher chance of you getting into an accident with another vessel that is uninsured or underinsured than if you were to get into an accident with an uninsured driver on the road. If you were injured, you may receive very little compensation for this – or none at all. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you could be left without any source of income if you could not work. Luckily, you do have the option of purchasing underinsured/uninsured boater insurance that supplies coverage up until the limit that is decreed on your policy declarations.

How do I insure my watercraft?

If you own a kayak, canoe, or other non-motorized watercraft, you can purchase a home insurance endorsement known as watercraft insurance that will supply coverage. If your boat is motorized, you can apply for a boat insurance quote with Excalibur today and we will help you go through the process of searching for the best coverage at the most affordable rates. You can discuss your needs and choose between an Actual Cash Value policy or an Agreed value policy. If you use your boat for watersports, you may need to disclose this with your broker as some insurance companies will not insure you if you engage in these kinds of activities. Your Excalibur broker can discuss your circumstances with you, the boat you own, what you use it for, and what coverage options are best for your situation so that you can buy with confidence knowing you are protected in case anything happens.